EDUCATION

Carry and conceal for Virginia professors up for Senate debate

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The Virginia State House is considering a bill that would allow college professors to carry guns on campus.

Manassas Republican Delegate Bob Marshall believes the law would prevent violence but opponents worry such a law would backfire.

"Virginia needs to protect its students on campus and police cannot be there at all times," said Marshall.

After the Virginia Tech massacre, Marshall says a professor at George Mason University asked him to support allowing concealed weapons on campus.

"Just throwing our hands in the air and saying we're just going to shoot our way out of the problem, that we're going to allow professors to shoot their way out of the problem, is not how we've got to do this," said Colin Goddard, a Va. Tech shooting survivor. "This is a dangerous, crazy idea."

Goddard survived four gunshot wounds at Va. Tech and now works for the Brady Campaign, lobbying for background checks at gun shows.

He says the state should do more to prevent gun violence and that this bill is reactive.

"None of the families that I know that lost somebody, or other students with me in that classroom, or any other classroom, think this is a good idea to allow guns on campus," he said.

The legislation would allow full-time faculty members with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on campus. But college students across the state, including at George Mason, have mixed feelings about the proposal.

"It might intimidate students or make them nervous that maybe a professor might do something like that," said student Vicki Allers.

Student Omar Elfeky felt differently.

"I believe that every human being has a right to protect himself and professors should also have that right," Elfeky said.

On WTOP's "Ask the Governor," Bob McDonnell said each university's Board of Visitors decides what they think is best and most of them oppose the bill.
 But he did not entirely reject the idea.

"If there are circumstances where somebody is going to do violence to students and there is a responsible professor or law enforcement officer who might intervene, you know I could contemplate circumstances where less violence could be done," McDonnell said. "So this is not an open and shut case."

 

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